What do you call a big pot of miscellaneous leftovers?
November 13, 2008 2:03 PM   Subscribe

Some households have strategies for using up leftovers. For instance, periodically they'll combine whatever's available into a casserole. Some of these households use clever or charming names (whether of their own invention or shared throughout some community) for this dish. I'm looking for these names.
posted by stuart_s to Writing & Language (38 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I've heard "goulash" occasionally used to describe random leftover stew. Also, according to a Minnesotan I once dated, pretty much everything is a candidate for "hot dish" (a casserole with meat, starch, some kind of creamy or cheesy binder, and a tater tot or other potato-related crunchy top layer) - beef hot dish, chicken hot dish, whatever.
posted by peachfuzz at 2:11 PM on November 13, 2008

You mean like Magical Mystery Mush or Leftover Surprise? (For the record, I just made those up - we didn't have a name for that in my family)
posted by filthy light thief at 2:14 PM on November 13, 2008

"Nosh" is my mum's general term for any kind of meal cooked from leftovers.
posted by Hermione Dies at 2:14 PM on November 13, 2008

'Dump casserole' is the name one of my in-laws uses. In usage: "We're having Dump tonight."
posted by cocoagirl at 2:15 PM on November 13, 2008

My mom called it "musgo," because it's made of "everything that must go."
posted by answergrape at 2:15 PM on November 13, 2008

Ohh, like that, you mean. Well, my mom calls remade leftovers "army soup", whether they're in soup form or not. No one knows why.
posted by peachfuzz at 2:18 PM on November 13, 2008

They're "consecrated casseroles" if donated to neighbors / coworkers / family going through a rough time
posted by woodway at 2:21 PM on November 13, 2008

My brother in law calls these things 'Variegated Mush.'
posted by autojack at 2:24 PM on November 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

One time my aunt was cleaning out the refrigerator, and she dumped a bunch of stuff into an empty milk carton, and left it in the sink. It was things like corn, and chopped up potatoes.

My uncle came home and was hungry, and saw it, so he dumped it into a saucepan and added milk, heated it up, and ate it. It turned out to be pretty much corn chowder.

So ever after that, our family referred to corn chowder as "garbage soup".
posted by Class Goat at 2:25 PM on November 13, 2008

I remember my cousin begging my father to make her the soup she had at our house once. Unfortunately, he had no idea how to remake it because every Sunday, he'd throw all of our leftovers into some broth and cook it up. We called it Fridge Soup (clever, I know).
posted by riane at 2:28 PM on November 13, 2008

A combination of leftover steamed broccoli, breadcrumbs, chilli and cornchips became the new version of nachos: Broccoli-chos. Since then, any ambitiously combined leftover meal becomes *main food item*-chos.
posted by twirlypen at 2:30 PM on November 13, 2008

This one is so well-used it may not be the sort of name you are looking for, but my mum is English and every Monday we'd have Bubble & Squeak.
posted by girlpublisher at 2:32 PM on November 13, 2008

Try this thread on Bitten.
posted by knile at 2:51 PM on November 13, 2008

Any collection of items not mixed together (example: sliced tomatoes, the last slivers of a couple of fancy cheeses, a pile of grapes, cold grilled chicken, two spoonfuls of leftover broccoli rice casserole, and some edamame, plunked down between us on a serving platter) is, in my house, called Dinner On A Plate.

A stew or soup-like concoction was called goulash or chow mein by my father (who was in charge of leftovers). Both of those, I think, are traditionally a sort of loose tomato chili made with hamburger meat and macaroni and whatever else shows up, as I have used both terms among various American-raised people and they've mostly known exactly what I was talking about. I think you can actually find the definitive Chow Mein recipe in old Betty Crocker cookbooks and church-lady recipe pamphlets.

My husband, who is a patient and open-minded man, is often fed Not Really Much Like Lasagna, Stuff In A Pan, Homemade Hamburger Helper (aka Macaroni'n'Meat), Leftover Supreme, Refrigerator Stew, Mystery Fritatta, and Nearly Freezer-Burned Curry. I am not particularly imaginative when it comes time to actually name whatever's getting eaten. It makes for interesting conversations, but I almost always know what he means when he says, "Hey, can we have that...thing...you made that time?"
posted by Lyn Never at 3:18 PM on November 13, 2008

Stone soup.
posted by Rhaomi at 3:19 PM on November 13, 2008

Creamy Party Suprise... I loved it ;)
posted by razzamatazm at 4:17 PM on November 13, 2008

"Train Wreck."
posted by ambrosia at 4:41 PM on November 13, 2008

We call it Stone Soup from the story of the starving soldiers who charm/trick a town into bringing out their horded food, which singly can't make a meal, but when put together make a delicious meal big enough for everyone.
posted by nax at 4:58 PM on November 13, 2008

on preview, as Rhaomi. Figured we couldn't be the only ones.
posted by nax at 4:59 PM on November 13, 2008

I heard the term "leftover parfait" on Malcolm in the Middle.
posted by camcgee at 5:01 PM on November 13, 2008

My Mennonite cookbook had a lot of recipes like this and they all had cute names, but I started calling every leftover-saving recipe Mennonite soup. You know... because it's fun to imagine that I'm an evil giant eating the helpless Mennonites... ugh, nerd.
posted by mustard seeds at 5:33 PM on November 13, 2008

Funny you should ask this. This evening, we just had "Boef Sheffield" consisting of leftover tater tots, leftover diced hamburgers, and leftover peas. Bound together with cheese and the ubiquitous cream of mushroom soup, and baked. It was delicious with a bottle of $4 Riesling. We've had Tuna Sheffield, Chicken Sheffield, Boca Burger Sheffield. You get the idea. Meat-esque bits + starchy potato-like substance + something green + creamy stuff. The "Sheffield" makes it sound classier.
posted by cuddles.mcsnuggy at 5:57 PM on November 13, 2008

Chicken Surprise
posted by Mephisto at 6:12 PM on November 13, 2008

Fridge soup, fridge casserole, Fridge Night (when everyone just grabs what they can from the fridge and everyone has a different meal).
posted by arcticwoman at 6:25 PM on November 13, 2008

My best friend's mom would call it "Refrigerator Surprise!"
posted by cucumberfresh at 7:35 PM on November 13, 2008

My Polish grandma calls it "slumgullion".

Yeah, I don't get it either.
posted by non sum qualis eram at 7:58 PM on November 13, 2008

My family never really created anything out of leftovers, but when we were feeling lazy and had a bunch of stuff that needed to be eaten, we'd all just go in and take what we wanted as our dinner. We called it foraging.
posted by zorrine at 8:21 PM on November 13, 2008

My mom just called it "George."

As in "We're having George for dinner." I never knew if we were having a dinner guest or leftovers!
posted by ktpupp at 8:27 PM on November 13, 2008

I lived in Boston for two years with one roommate from northern Michigan and one from Tennessee. They both bonded over the fact that their families called this sensational meal "hot dish."
posted by hpliferaft at 9:26 PM on November 13, 2008

We USED to call this Chef's Surprise in my family. Then, one night, my mom made Chef's Surprise that was so unutterably awful that we retired the name forever, and just called it 'leftovers'. I don't even remember what was in that last Chef's Surprise, but it was brutal.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:38 PM on November 13, 2008

A cook in Denmark referred to it as "NGO casserole" at the time of the NGO-Conference in Copenhagen.
posted by flif at 12:42 AM on November 14, 2008

Lob Scouse.
posted by hydatius at 3:59 AM on November 14, 2008

In Scotland this is known as Stovies
posted by Jakey at 4:33 AM on November 14, 2008

We called it Mommy Surprise and we had it on Wednesday nights. My dad worked part time and was the one who did all the cooking in the family, Wednesday was the one day he worked until 9pm so it was the one day mom (who does NOT cook) was in charge of dinner. That dinner usually consisted of whatever was left in the fridge all put together and served hot, perhaps so that the heat would burn our tastebuds and we wouldn't complain about the meal...
posted by magnetsphere at 8:18 AM on November 14, 2008

Add eggs for a "Girl Scout survival omelette".
posted by Citrus at 10:14 AM on November 14, 2008

Mulligan Stew.
posted by sciurus at 9:49 AM on November 15, 2008

My mom always refers to those dinners that consist of each of us grazing on whatever bits of leftovers we find in the fridge "catch as catch can." I've never really come up with fun names for big pots of leftovers, but I'm going to start now! I eat a lot of about-to-go-bad, oddball-combination leftover meals; they'd be so much more delightful with charming names attached!

It's slightly off-topic, but one name that I do love belongs to a friend's household and has to do with drinks: a big jug of sangria-style punch (fruit, old wine, some kind of clear soda, whatever else you have sitting around) is known as Janky Jonk, and it's a beloved (but kinda awful) staple at social gatherings.
posted by aka burlap at 2:49 PM on November 15, 2008

Lentils and Leftovers has always been a specialty of mine.
posted by Pallas Athena at 5:54 AM on November 18, 2008

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